Journaling: The Stories We Tell Ourselves
With mixed feelings, I recently undertook a two-week journaling project. I wasn’t certain I could commit to the project in the face of more enjoyable summertime alternatives. I was also reluctant given the emotional and mental energy required to (thoughtfully) write during otherwise full days.
As this journaling project unfolded, my struggles and gripes with journaling ebbed and flowed. Some days it felt natural, even easy to journal. Other days it felt more like a burden. [I should note that many people enjoy journaling and don’t carry mixed feelings about the process. They sit, reflect, and write without difficulty. I am not one of those people.]
This journaling project brought two things to light that I think are worth sharing. People have stories that they tell themselves about their lives. Journaling encourages awareness of these stories. If we pay attention to our stories (e.g., noticing how we approach conflict or deal with loneliness), we gain greater understanding of ourselves. This increased understanding can help us to make changes in our lives. Secondly, journaling provides us a chance to reflect on our lives with greater objectivity. This increased objectivity can offer us different perspectives and new ways to handle difficult situations.